In wake of Wheeling lawsuit, two hospitals to close in Ohio, West Virginia
Late last week, Ohio Valley Medical Center (OVMC) in Wheeling, West Virginia and East Ohio Regional Hospital (EORH) in Martins Ferry, Ohio announced their impending closure. The two facilities are set to close in a few months, putting nearly 1,200 employees out of work.
President and CEO Daniel C. Dunmyer’s statement reads: “OVMC, EORH and their physician practices have lost more than $37 million over the past 2 years as they struggled to overcome declining volumes, declining reimbursement, and the substantial harm caused by the conduct alleged by the government in United States of America ex. rel. Louis Longo v. Wheeling Hospital, Inc., R&V Associates, LTD., and Ronald L Violi.”
Back in March, the Department of Justice (DOJ) entered a federal whistleblower lawsuit alleging that West Virginia’s Wheeling Hospital was in violation of the Stark Law, Anti-Kickback Statute, and the False Claims Act.
Louis Longo, Wheeling’s former executive vice president, claimed that the hospital nurtured a relationship with R&V Associates founded on overcompensation and kickbacks. The duration of Wheeling’s relationship with R&V saw the hospital a $90 million profit.
For the most part, Stark, AKS, and FCA violations are seen only as harmful to the government–faceless men in suits. The phrase ‘defrauding the government’ hardly elicits an emotional response.